Monthly Archives: June 2022

From: What it is to be a Woman-Tubbs

Image by Sabrina Young from Pixabay-thank you

Something to think about …(C)Sandra Butler Tubbs

Mrs. Rosalind Gertner (Lakewood New Jersey High School Social Studies Department Chairperson, white and Jewish) wrote this in my 1967 yearbook:

“A young woman with your brains and of your race has a very hard line to walk between two worlds. I’ve seldom met anyone with your ability to do it successfully – My best wishes go with you – affectionately, Roz Gertner.”

Thank God for allowing me to grow and flourish among so many wise and wonderful people. At first I thought Mrs. Gertner was ignoring the recent mid-sixties Civil Rights victories. She, like my father, Deacon William Butler, knew that those laws were only tiny baby steps toward a better direction.

My father once said, “Laws don’t change people’s hearts.”

Because of my father, Mrs. Gertner and others, I have survived and thrived on that very hard line Mrs. Gertner described in 1967.

I am ready to begin conversations with red, yellow, black and white about how we humans can start taking steps to be who God wants us to be – you know, loving, kind and considerate to each other.

To my friends and family, we all are part of God’s family, so let us start helping others to be part of that family and to take bigger steps toward the healing needed in the United States and the world; and let’s let God’s love shine through each of us to each other.

Leave a comment

Filed under women, women writers, women's forum

From: What it is to be a Woman anthology- Gardner poem

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Never Underestimate a Woman ©LaVerne Carlo Gardner

life as a female

growing up in the south

was not always easy

was not always fun

there were many roles

there were many duties

from child to woman much too soon

from adolescent to caregiver much too young

must take care of family

little time to be a teenager

little time to date or socialize

there was one way out

education

become self-sufficient

independent

there were happy times

family gatherings

weddings

birth of children and grandchildren

social events

there were sad times

death of childhood

death of parents

death of marriages

death of friends

death of lovers

death of a child

but through it all I prevailed

the strength of a woman

should never be underestimated

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

The Tree of Woman from What it is to be a Woman

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The Tree of Woman© Lynn Szostek    

Roots, shoots, fruits

A woman thou art these

From tiny seedling rooted deep

Grown tall and strong, a tree

With branches reaching far and wide

Stemming from her core

They find the sun and catch the rain

And sway through any storm 

Though leaves may change and some may shed

A branch may break or bend

Just when you think her time is done She blossoms once again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ten Things of Thankful-Fathers

Father
Stepfather
  1. I’m thankful to have had two wonderful fathers. Albert Bice who shared his genes with me, the ones that loved books, learning, and creativity.
  2. The same father who believed in honor, duty, and who planted the seed of family roots. He gave me the basics and the desire to learn who they were, then left me to it.
  3. Thankfully, my stepfather was a wonderful man who accepted responsibilities, received the love of my mother and gained a family.
  4. The same stepfather who improved our daily lives and walked me down the aisle on the big day.
  5. Thankfully, my son Bret became a super Dad to two wonderful daughters who turned him into a grandfather.
  6. Thankfully, my son Ralph became a loving father to a wonderful daughter. He waited a long time for the privilege.
  7. To their father who did the best he could with what he had to work with.
  8. Thanks to my grandfathers who I only came to know through genealogy.
  9. Thanks to my great grandfathers who impress me deeply with their lives lived. They fought in the Civil War and survived.
  10. To all my grandfathers who came before,  two who fought for our country in the American Revolution; even earlier; one who came on the Mayflower; one who came from Cornwall, England.

Leave a comment

Filed under family

I Came Upon …From Simply Put,  a collection of poems

I CAME UPON THIS DOOR© -arlene s bice

When roaming a medieval town

I came upon this door

by accident, I thought                                                      

tucked into

a hidden lane

a short distance away

it summoned me

come closer, enter after knocking

I remembered it, but how?

I have never been here before

The lamp bid me as welcome

as a candle in a window

it felt familiar

as I paused

letting my senses

respond

to warn or

to comfort, I did not know

But I felt I had been here before

a long, long time ago

The knocker beckoned

my hand to grasp 

let it fall

send echoes

down the hall

of stone

cold

secretive, empty

with stories to tell of times

amidst this forgotten pall

As memories came to mind

visions of men, women

revealed to me

I wondered

what string or crumbs

brought me here

to revive

those stories of long ago

of folks, kindred who must not be left, thoughtlessly, behind   

2 Comments

Filed under Poetry

Maps, a poem from Simply Put, a collection

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay 

MAPS AS PROOF-arlene s bice©

Every now and then

I’ll sit on the floor after dragging down

the pile of maps folded on my bookshelf.

These are the rainy-afternoons-do-you-remember-when-maps.

I don’t buy souvenirs

but I save my maps, some worn others not

emoting moments, some seeking a thing not found

others of finding surprises-quite-unexpected-but-joyfully-held.

Maps are my proof.

I’ve stepped out of the mold, leaving behind

my mother’s daughter; creating my own  true self

becoming a-woman-who-loves-and-saves-her-maps.

And I’ll continue

to travel on roads new to me, soaking in

the atmosphere of another’s world, seeing it differently

then I will be making a deposit-in-the-bank-of-memories-for-a-rainy-day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Poetry, reflection

The Paths Not Taken

Image by bertvthul from Pixabay 

The Paths not Taken © Arlene S. Bice

There were so many paths I could have taken but had no clue they were open to me. That applies to my personal life and also to what could have been my career, though it would have been a precursor to finally becoming a writer. Before I reached that point I would have liked to be an interpreter of Italian, Spanish, and/or French languages. Perhaps I would have worked in the UN building or translated films for closed captioning. I would have liked living in Europe and worked on document and letter translations. Alas, I settled for the delight in listening to foreign languages being spoken all around me when I went up to New York City wholesale district to buy jewelry for my gift shop.

I would have enjoyed owning and running an Inn, a B & B or a wee hotel with a wishing well in the mountains or a small, picturesque village. It would be a hands-on performance with personal interaction with the guests. In later years traveling through the Rocky Mountains with my second husband, we stayed in a snug motel nestled in a mountainside. It had less than 10 units, with an intimate restaurant attached that was charming. The husband and wife lived there. He was a former cross-country truck driver who now opened and cooked in the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. We were lucky to have stopped on a Saturday.  I noted to keep it in mind and return when my kids were fully grown and on their own. Life and love got in the way again. I never returned.

After I reached the mid 50s, I traveled to western North Carolina to Blowing Rock, suggested by a friend who felt I would love the town. I did. It too, had a snug motel, less than 10 units, but in the center of town, a half block off Main Street. I felt like I was staying at my aunt’s house. That’s how cozy and personal the feminine touches presented my room. The owner also lived in one of the units. These were the Blue Ridge Mountains. Real Estate in town was affordable. When I next returned a couple years later properties were sky high in price. The town was even prettier but I waited too long.

I learned some Spanish as a teen, loved the melodic sound of the words. The culture came easily when I visited my brother Albert a dozen times over the years in Puerto Rico.  Visiting my son Ken in Cadiz, Spain where he was stationed in the Navy reinforced my passion for all things Spanish. I read a lot of books with a Spanish backstory and history early in my fervor for reading. My loosely-laid plan was to retire in Puerto Rico. Instead my brother Albert came to live with me in Macon, North Carolina for his last couple of years before he passed.

Learning Italian came fairly easily. I had been exposed to the culture growing up since all of my girlfriends were of Italian descent. Angelo, my fiancé  was born and raised in Italy before coming to America as a 14 year old. I took classes but he refused to speak Italian at home. It would have made the language a bit smoother in my speech. Yet when we were in Italy, he left it up to me to make arrangements. Go figure. When I returned to Italy after he passed over, the language stumbled with a conversation or two. An invisible pat on my back was definite when I held a conversation at a gas station with a kindly older gentleman without struggle or difficulty. Whoo hoo! I did it!

Art always held a special place in my heart. I tried a few times to make room to develop techniques. My first husband fought any attempt I made to improve myself or expand knowledge of any kind. My mother followed the same pattern after I left him. She would not stay in the house with my kids who were by then 14, 12, 10, and 8 so I could attend classes. Again I was forced to stay home and read about artists and the art they created. When I was able to pursue art, nearing my 60s, my writing had already taken all my efforts and challenges. I wondered what my life would have been like if I had never married.

All roads led to writing. It was an early desire that never faded, but kept popping up here and there to keep the fire smoldering until I was able to pursue it, to learn the craft, then to finally share what I learned with others.

Leave a comment

Filed under reflection

A Poem I Wrote Many Years Ago About Italy

Image by Peter H from Pixabay 

(Inspired by Dun Aengus by David Whyte)

(Publ. in Life & Labyrinth and Simply Put)

ITALY –© arlene s bice

And when you go,

try to go before the season

when tourists fill every place.

They take the soul of place away.

See Italy as its people have,

from centuries ago to the present.

Join them with colorful pottery pitchers

of wine on each table alongside baskets of

bread yet warm, with the scent of hot oven-baking

still floating from the kitchen to your table to your nose

to whet your appetite.

Walk the narrow cobbled streets

where the clatter of horses’ hooves fill

your ears even though that time is a long way

passed. Throw open a casement window in your

castle bedroom to sweep your eyes over clay tiled

roofs to the mountains in the distance. Mountains that

pierce clouds as you do, driving down the mountain, the

road carrying you through the cloud slowly that it lays

on your shoulders, imbeds itself into your pores, mouth

and your brain.

Soak in sounds of the squeeze-box;

a strolling soprano sings with all his being

as you stroll along the canals of Venice holding

hands most sensuously not ignoring strangers, but

saving them for the trattoria, where everyone shares a

moment or announced event; they will cheer your good news.

Drink in the crisp, clear water

spouting out of the mountain, like

champagne surging from a wedding fountain.

Place a small offering in the roadside box with the

Madonna, even though you aren’t Catholic, never will

be & don’t believe that stuff. Do it anyway, be Italian

while you are here.

Drive along the Costera Azura

not falling off the mountain into the

azure blue water like you expect to do

at the next sharp turn where you meet a bus

coming the other way. Italians have been driving

this road for centuries and do fall off crashing onto the

rocks below, but you won’t. You have too much to take

home to hold onto when there are only memories to make

you smile with inner glow; you once lived with a joyful heart in Italy.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, reflection, travel

Stroke of Luck

Photo by Paweu0142 Fijau0142kowski on Pexels.com

Stroke of Luck © Arlene S Bice

There were many times in my life when I was thankful for the stroke of luck that I made on a particular choice, turn in the road, or chose a horse to put my hard earned $2 on to win. As I got older and wiser and became aware of angels that looked after me and guides that made me aware of choices, and ancestors who whispered in my ear, I realized those times were not luck at all. They were synchronicity moments. Following my intuition had new meaning. The books that educated me were treasures.

Seeing a double, double rainbow filling the entire blue sky in International Falls on the Minnesota side of the Canadian border, was a vision to remember not for the pot of gold at the end of it but for the moment of what it was, a thing of breathtaking beauty. Seeing it was pure luck.

Early one afternoon on our return trip home, Angelo and I stopped at a K-Mart with only three cars in the large macadam parking lot. I was annoyed at him over some little thing that I don’t remember. We parted inside to look on our own. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t really look, and headed back to wait in the car when I looked up at the sky, stunned! I turned to go inside to find Angelo. He must see this, I thought. I didn’t see him anywhere. “Never can find I him when I want him,” I grumbled as I went outside to fill my eyes again where the entire sky was filled with a double, double rainbow!  I had never seen such a sight and knew I would not see it again in my lifetime.

There he was! He had been inside looking for me to see this glorious sight, gave up and came out again. We marveled together, marking the moment in time to always be treasured. Surely this entire incident was a stroke of luck. The annoying slight was instantly forgotten along with the camera tucked into the luggage somewhere. Good luck only goes so far.

Leave a comment

Filed under reflection

From a fun writing prompt: what do i see outside my window?

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Me & Dr. Seuss© arlene s bice

After dozing over a book at 3 o’clock

I came awake with a sudden shock  

drums were pounding loud and clear

pulsing the air, it made me fear

what was going on this lovely day

I leapt to the window to see what may

be causing such a fracas, be causing disarray

my eyes flew wide, my mouth fell away

it was a king being carried high above

the crowd was calm, no push or shove

neatly they walked, the queen was aside

on her own seat of pomp and pride

but this I cannot believe at all

not thrones, but toilets is what I saw

yes, yes, the crowd carried them too

seats of their own, all white, not blue

ahah! I declared to myself, I know that load

of toilets from Goodes Ferry Road

that disappeared some time ago, remember

toilets that hung on the trees even in December

it seemed like a zillion sat on the ground

lay upright and sideways all year ‘round

so this group of royals won the fame

it will be added to that reigning name

they absconded with the funds

and showed everyone their buns!

PS: there really was a large collection of toilets in a small wood on Goodes Ferry Road

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry